Smoked Chicken Thighs

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Smoked chicken thighs are an easy, delicious meal that will delight your whole family without waiting for hours. These chicken thighs are coated with a spice rub and smoked before being glazed with a yummy BBQ sauce.

I’ll never forget the first time Kevy whipped up a batch of his chicken thighs on Porkie – our lake Traeger.

By the end of the meal, there were numerous complaints of people eating till they hated themselves, and a few “where has this chicken been my whole life?” questions.

What can I say… I married a guy who cooks damn good food!

This smoked chicken thighs recipe is dedicated to our lake crew.

Smoked chicken thighs in a white speckled bowl.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> This recipe is written and photographed with skinless boneless chicken thighs because that’s what we always have on hand, but this recipe will work with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs too! They will take a little longer to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees f.

No. 2 –> Make a double batch to have leftovers for later in the week. Smoked chicken thighs are soooo good in wraps and salads, or on nachos and tacos. Or vacuum seal some in vacuum bags and freeze them for up to 3 months – simply reheat in the sous vide and you’ve got a meal in under an hour with minimal mess.

No. 3 –> When smoking chicken thighs, I generally stick to Lumberjack Competition blend pellets. It’s a great all around blend and pretty much all we use!

Traeger chicken thighs on a wire mesh rack.

Key ingredients

Brown sugar: The base of the homemade spice rub in this recipe is brown sugar. I don’t care what anyone says, brown sugar is the backbone of smoked meat. Its sweet, molassesy goodness is responsible for the crunchy bark we all know and love!

Spice rub: I’ve whipped up a quick and easy rub for this recipe, that said, if you’ve got a favourite store bought rub, feel free to use that. If you’ve got any leftover rub, simply toss it in a ziplock bag for use at a later date!

Sauce: I don’t have a favourite barbecue sauce, I’m a little bit of a rolling stone that way. But any sauce that you like works great in on these chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs: We often cook boneless skinless thighs, because that’s what I buy, but this recipe will be just as yummy with bone in chicken thighs!

A photo of all the rub ingredients in individual bowls.

How to smoke chicken thighs

  1. Preheat smoker to 200f, and if your Traeger has Super Smoke, use it!
  2. Optionally prepare a wire mesh rack by spraying with cooking oil or use silicone mat for ease transportation and clean up.
  3. Combine all ingredients for the rub; brown sugar, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper and paprika, in a small bowl and stir until completely combined.
  4. If using boneless skinless chicken thighs, trim any excess fat, and fold them into a roll.
  5. Put chicken inside a cookie sheet before liberally sprinkling rub all over the top of the chicken thighs. This will help to collect any rub that does not adhere to the chicken, and make clean up a breeze.
  6. If using a wire rack or silicone mat it can be loaded with chicken and placed directly on the grill rack, or the chicken can be cooked directly on the grill rack, if desired.
  7. Smoke at 200f for 30 minutes.
  8. Increase heat to 325f and cook for 20 minutes, then baste with your favourite BBQ sauce, and cook another 10 minutes at 325f (or until internal temperature reaches 165f).
  9. Allow the chicken thighs to rest for 5-10 minutes before digging in!

Storage information:

Smoked chicken thighs can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. We love to use our leftover chicken thighs in wraps, salads, tacos and nachos.

If you’re looking to freeze some for later use, simply vacuum seal them and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. They can be thawed in the fridge for later enjoyment. We love to heat them up in the sous vide for a pretty darn near “right off the smoker” experience.

More smoked recipes to love!

Recommend tools

Smoker: Kevy and I have and LOVE a Traeger Timberline 1300. It’s got all the space we could ever need, and all the bells and whistles we didn’t know we wanted. All in all, it’s the best purchase we’ve made in years!

Wire mesh rack: An oven safe wire mesh cooling rack is the bees knees. They are super convenient when cooking all sorts of stuff, including bacon jerky.

Blutooth thermometer: This is definitely a want more than a need, but it’s so nice to use a wireless meat thermometer to check the temperature of whatever you’re cooking without having to stop what you’re doing. And if you’re anything like me, that’s 5 other things at a time!

Traeger smoked chicken thighs sealed in a vacuum bag.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Smoked chicken thighs in a white speckled bowl.

Smoked Chicken Thighs

Allyson Letal
Smoked chicken thighs are quick and easy, and oh so delicious! This Traeger recipe features tender smoked chicken thighs covered in a brown sugar based rub and glazed in your favourite barbecue sauce.
4.40 from 28 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Smoked
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 268 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 12 chicken thighs

rub ingredients:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat smoker to 200f, and if your Traeger has Super Smoke, use it.
  • Combine all ingredients for the rub; ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, ½ tablespoon onion powder, ½ tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and ½ tablespoon paprika, in a small bowl and stir until completely combined.
  • If using boneless skinless chicken thighs, trim any excess fat, and fold them into a roll. Bone in chicken thighs rarely need any preparation.
  • Sprinkle the rub liberally all over the top of the chicken thighs.
  • Smoke at 200f for 30 minutes.
  • Increase heat to 325f and cook for 20 minutes, then baste with your favourite BBQ sauce, and cook another 10 minutes at 325f (or until internal temperature reaches 165f).
  • Allow the chicken thighs to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

storage information:

Smoked chicken thighs can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. We love to use our leftover chicken thighs in wraps, salads, tacos and nachos
If you’re looking to freeze some for later use, simply vacuum seal them and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. They can be thawed in the fridge for later enjoyment. We love to heat them up in the SOUS VIDE for a pretty darn near "right off the smoker" experience.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 19gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 670mgPotassium: 254mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 233IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
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